January 24, 2024

Veterans’ Income, VA Disability Ratings Spotlighted In Federal Study, Allsup Reports

Poor health cited as factor as more veterans receive disability ratings; Allsup outlines role of VA-accredited claims agents, plus seeking Social Security disability benefits

Belleville, Illinois (Jan. 24, 2024) – A recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)  has brought to light significant disparities in the earnings and personal income of working-age veterans with VA disability ratings, according to Allsup, which provides VA disability appeals and Social Security disability representation services nationwide. The number of veterans receiving VA disability compensation had increased to nearly 30% of all veterans by fiscal year 2022, compared to 9% in FY 2000, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The most common rating for veterans in 2022 was 100%, making up 20% of ratings. In comparison, only 6% of those veterans with a 100% rating were receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

“Veterans’ income may come from a number of sources and, for those with the highest disability ratings, data show VA disability compensation contributes a significant portion to their livelihoods,” said Brett Buchanan, a U.S. Army veteran and VA-Accredited Claims Agent for Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services®. Allsup offers services in the form of VA disability appeals help at all rating levels, and SSDI representation for veterans no longer able to work due to disability. “We’re dedicated to assisting veterans as they transition to civilian life, particularly in clarifying their eligibility for both VA disability and SSDI benefits, which is frequently misunderstood.”

The CBO report, which found lower earnings for veterans with a disability rating when compared to those without, indicated a number of factors could be at work – including poor health, which may be related to combat exposure that leads to injuries, mental illness and other conditions. The VA-accredited claims agents at Allsup help navigate the complex VA disability appeals process, assisting veterans to secure claims approvals and higher ratings.

Key findings from the CBO report include:

  • Earnings Gap: Male veterans ages 22-54, between 2017 and 2019, receiving VA disability compensation had average annual earnings of $52,200, which is 16% less than $62,400 for those of veterans without a VA disability rating.
  • Labor Force Participation: The report notes a substantial decrease in labor force participation among veterans with high disability ratings, contributing to their lower earnings. Allsup aids these veterans by securing disability benefits that mitigate these financial disparities.
  • Income Analysis: Despite lower earnings, the average personal income (earnings plus income) of veterans receiving VA disability compensation was about 10% higher than that of veterans who did not, primarily due to VA disability payments.
  • Pre-Retirement: In 2022, more than half of all veterans were under age 65 (54%), and most working-age veterans (22-54 years old) served in the Gulf War era.

In addition to these findings, the CBO report reveals that 14% of veterans with functional disabilities receive SSDI benefits, averaging $13,400 annually. This emphasizes the importance of providing support to veterans in the process of applying for and appealing SSDI claims, especially for those who might not have a VA disability rating yet but experience functional disabilities that prevent them from working.

The VA-accredited claims agents at Allsup are dedicated to ensuring veterans receive fair and adequate responses to their claims, leveraging their extensive experience with the VA program. “The complex relationship between veterans’ earning capacities and VA disability compensation emphasizes the necessity for clear guidance and support,” said Buchanan, who is also director of Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services®. “It’s imperative that veterans fully understand and access all the benefits earned as a result of their service, particularly during their transition to civilian life with service-connected disabilities.”

The VA assigns disability ratings that vary from 10 to 100 percent, directly correlating with the severity of the condition. These ratings play a critical role in determining the level of compensation a veteran is entitled to receive. In response to this crucial need, Allsup provides tailored assistance, ensuring that veterans not only gain access to the benefits they are due but also receive them at the most accurate disability rating. This specialized support is instrumental in navigating the complexities of the VA’s compensation program, affirming Allsup’s commitment to securing benefits for U.S. veterans.

If you or a veteran you know has questions about their options for VA disability benefits, please call 888-372-1190 or visit: Allsup.com/veterans.


Allsup and its subsidiaries provide nationwide Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, disability financial solutions, return to work, and healthcare benefits services for individuals, their employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis. Learn more at Allsup.com/Veterans and follow @Allsup on X.